Thursday, 6 September 2012

How to get a story about phonics wrong.

News Story in Monday's Independent:

"Children are proving too clever for their own good when it comes to taking the new reading test for six-year-olds, according to research published today.

In the test, which is designed as a phonics check, pupils are asked to sound out or decode a series of words, some of which are made up. However, when encountering pseudo words such as "strom", pupils assumed the teacher had failed to spot an error and changed the word to "storm" – and getting the answer wrong.

The Government, however, insists the test – jointly carried out by the National Association of Head Teachers, National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers – is essential in spotting children who have a reading problem early."

Difficult to think of whether you could pack more errors into the one story!

1. It's not a 'reading' test. It's a 'phonics decoding test' ie making appropriate sounds when seeing letters.

2. It was not jointly carried out by those Unions. It was carried out by teachers, many of whom may be in those unions.

3. Those unions have produced a statement opposing the Phonics Screening Check.

4. The test does not spot children who have a 'reading problem'. It spots children who have a phonics problem.